Eid al-Adha

Assalamualaikum!

It’s Eid al-Adha here al-Hamdulillah.. After my maghrib salaah, I was just reflecting on why we celebrate Eid al-Adha and the story behind it. These are some of my brief thoughts about the story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s).

There are many lessons that can be derived from the story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and the sacrifice of his son, Prophet Ismail (a.s). We can learn about putting our full trust (tawakkul) in Allah SWT when Prophet Ismail (a.s), allowed his father to sacrifice him without questioning Allah SWT why even though it made no sense to him. That is something all of us need to be reminded of especially when tragedy strikes us when we least expect and not to question Allah’s decree.

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) remains a prime example to us when he was patient in performing a command from Allah SWT. Imagine ourselves in a position of sacrificing something/someone that we love so dearly for a higher purpose! More than often, we are reminded to be patient when we are angry but being patient is not only limited to that. We can translate this into having patience in performing our obligations and especially in struggling with our nafs for the sake of Allah SWT. Do you know that Imaam Sufyan at-Thawri (rahimullah) only tasted the sweetness of night prayer after 20 years of unwavering sabr? Ya Rabb..

“For twenty years I waged Jihad against myself.  I struggled, all throughout to remain standing in prayer at night.  For those twenty years I never tasted the sweetness of the night prayer.  It was only after that that I found comfort and sweetness.”

There is perhaps another angle of this story which I look at: Attachment to this Dunya. It is surely without doubt that Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) loved his son dearly but his heart was clearly not attached to him. Had his heart been attached to this Dunya, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) would not have carried out as he was commanded. He understood that Allah SWT was top priority in all aspects of his life, and it was more important than his own family. We tend to interpret ‘Dunya’ in the form of material wealth only but fail to understand that ‘Dunya’ encompasses everything – people, places, objects, moments etc. When we enslave ourselves in our attachments to people for example, we do not realise that that is actually Dunya too. Let’s strive towards freeing ourselves from worldly attachments and only have our hearts connected to Allah SWT.

Subhan’Allah.. So many lessons that Allah SWT is teaching us just from the story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s).

Anyway, EID MUBARAK! Hope it was beneficial insha’Allah 🙂

Tafseer Videos

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh everyone,

I hope it’s not too late to mention this – if you want a brief tafseer, then there are a few videos available on Youtube:

1) Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury

He does a ‘live’ short tafseer of Juz Tabarak every weekend till the end of Ramadhan. You can watch the recordings on Youtube or better, if you are in Malaysia, you can attend his tafseer classes at International Islamic University of Malaysia from 5.15pm – 6.15pm held at the Main Mosque. He is planning to have tafseer classes of the whole Quran which I think it’ll be after Ramadhan. Stay tune for that!

2) Bro Nouman Ali Khan @ Quran Weekly

The videos are very short – about 3 to 4 mins and he covers just one ayaah in each Juz.

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The brief tafseer will not do justice to the Qur’an but since time is running short and that Ramadhan is leaving us soon, let’s maximise the remaining number of days insha’Allah!

Some of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam’s manners & Characteristics

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

[Taken from: Muhammad the Messenger of Allah by Abdurrahman Al-Sheha]

[Also available: islamhouse.com]

1. Doing things for the sake of Allah: The Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam would always do deeds through which he would seek the pleasure of Allah. He was harmed and abused when he invited and called people to Islam; yet he was patient and endured all of this, and hoped for the reward of Allah. Abdullah b. Masood, with whom Allah is pleased, said:

‘It is as though I am looking at the Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam talking about a Prophet who was hurt by his people. He wiped the blood from his face and said: ‘O Allah! Forgive me people, for they know not!’ (Bukhari #3290)

Judub b. Sufyaan, with whom Allah is pleased, said that the Messenger’s finger bled during one of the battles, and he said:

‘ You are but a finger which has bled; which suffers in the path of Allah.’ (Bukhari #2648)

 

Jumaah #20

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

(I just remembered that I’ve not had Jumaah reminders for ages!)

This Ramadan, let’s train ourselves insha’Allah that when we hear Al-Laghw, we immediately disassociate ourselves from it. Our time in the blessed month is too short to waste with idle talk. A reminder for myself and all of you bi’ithnillah.

Making the changes – Sh. Omar Suleiman

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

How many of you out there listen to Sh. Omar Suleiman’s lectures too? I feel like he is being overshadowed by speakers like Bro Nouman Ali Khan and Sh. Abdul Nasir Jangda when Sh. Omar’s lectures are equally as inspiring. One of my favourite lectures is this one that I posted up. Khayr insha’Allah..

Here’s the outline of his lecture:

1. Eliminate the poisons in your life that are not allowing you to change

“Do you really think Allah SWT is going to give you khushoo’ in your Salaah when your eyes have been going all over the place, all day and all of a sudden you are going to Salaah and Salaah is going to be okay?”. Get rid of those things that will be a hindrance to you, excelling your relationship with Allah SWT.

2. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

“Stop yourself before you fall into those situation”

3. K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Sunnah)

“Find something small in your life that you are capable of doing and stick with it. Eventually, that will accumulate. Eventually, that might be the cause of you entering into Jannah”

4. Think progress

” Think progress, don’t think backwards. Shaitan always pulls you this way and Allah SWT always calls you forward”

5. “On your way to becoming a good Muslim, don’t become a crappy human being”

“Becoming a more religious person should not make you a jerk. It should not make your character worse. It should not make you more condescending towards people. It should make you more humble. It should make you more loving. It should make you more compassionate. It should make you more caring. Don’t become a terrible person on your way to becoming a better Muslim.”

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Good practical tips by him masha’Allah! I like the 3rd and 5th points especially. We tend to overdo our ibadaah to the extent that we become ‘burn out’ overtime. But the best is to be consistent in our deeds rather than doing being too enthusiastic and eventually abandoning them later.

The 5th advice resonates the most with me. I find that when we start to become more practising in our Deen, we strive to perfecting ourselves, and at the same time we expect others to be on the same path too when we should understand that everyone is on a different spiritual journey. We see a lot of jerks these days when really, there is no need to be harsh when correcting others.

Let me know what you think of his lecture!

5 Gems from Prof Tariq Ramadan’s lecture

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh!

I can’t say how fortunate I was to be able to attend Prof. Tariq Ramadan’s lecture titled “Religious ethics in Post Modern Society” last night. The title itself sounds complex and I admit that at the beginning of the lecture, I was losing focus. It was only towards the end when he started to tie everything to today’s context, well.. he just blew me away 🙂 I kept uttering ‘Masha’Allah’ under my breath each time he says something profound. Here are some gems which I managed to jot down during the lecture and insha’Allah share some of my views. Like he said in the lecture.. “Don’t be passive believers or listeners.”

1) “Education is not just transmitting knowledge, but transforming behaviour”

We are so caught up with the paper chase that we don’t realize the importance of education can have on our lives. In schools, students are taught to regurgitate facts but yet fail to allow space for them to think critically. The goal that is always emphasized is to achieve the highest marks and compete to be in the best schools and yet we fail to fathom the ultimate objective of education: transforming people. How is it that we strive to produce students who can memorize and score top marks and yet unable to have the compassion for others?

2) “What are you using your knowledge for – to serve humanity or yourself?”

Prof Tariq mentioned something which I’ve always felt very strongly about. Each time someone asks me for advice about what career path they should take, my reply has always been that as long it benefits both you and humanity, then it’s a path worth taking. This does not mean that they should only limit themselves to volunteer or social work but there are in fact, many careers which can be used for the benefit of others too. An example is that if a student decides to work as a researcher, he or she could possibly focus on finding cures for diseases that have still no cures. Or he could be an economist and try to alleviate the problems affecting the third world country. Really.. the list is endless and all this boils down to what exactly is your objective for education.

3) ” The worst type of colonization is not the colonization of the mind, but in fact is the colonization of attitudes.”

This is something that we fail to recognize! Prof Tariq mentioned about producing people who are not ignorant but they are selfish in their ways. Are we concerned for the poor? What are we doing about the people who are oppressed around the world?

4) “The wrong use of rationality is arrogance. Be humble with rationality”

Have intellectual humility. ‘Nuff said!

5) Blaise Pascal: “We are generally the better persuaded by the reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others.”

A sister asked about ‘crystallized intelligence’ of the older generation who are unwilling to accept new ideas. In other words, to dissect the term further, she was asking about how do we deal with people who are so deeply rooted in their beliefs that they reject anything that seem foreign to them. (I thought she asked a good question considering I constantly face such people). Prof Tariq then told her about the steps we can take to communicate with them. He quoted from Blaise Pascal (which I think it’s slightly different from the one I used above but it’s basically about the art of communicating).

Step 1: Catch his/her attention in a positive way

Step 2: Start with something that you agree upon

Step 3: Understand the psychology of the other person (i.e. put yourself in their shoes)

Step 4: Never tell someone that they are wrong

How useful masha’Allah! We tend to jump at each other’s throat without considering these steps first! Especially when practising our Deen, sometimes we disagree with each other (face it, even the Sahabahs do not agree with one another!) but the manner in which we advice each other, is completely atrocious. We are quick to say “you are doing Haram!” or “you are going to Hellfire for doing that” without first considering the psychology of the person (step 3). Prof Tariq also said that we may look at an issue from a different angle, thus we may think that our opinion is correct (and others wrong) but from their point of view, they understand it differently. It is important that we try to understand each other’s stand before passing judgements on each other.

Say for example a sister who does not wear hijaab. Rather than being quick to judge her about not wearing hijaab, we could at least try to ask the reason why is she delaying it. It could be that she is a new Muslim or that her family doesn’t allow her or that she faces some hardship wearing it. I remember a sister whom I used to live with wore hijaab when her parents were around but removed it when she attends classes. One person labelled her a ‘part-time hijaabi’ as a result, but when we became closer friends, she opened up to me about the difficulties she was facing.  Al-Hamdulillah she understands that it is a command from Him but she just needed the extra push to overcome her obstacles.

My sisters back in Australia had mentioned this repeatedly when we had our weekly halaqah. I see them practising these steps and I find that we understand and respect each other better albeit there are some things we disagree about. At the end of the day, it should not be about being the one who is ‘correct’ but trying to understand and accept different views of others without verbally harming anyone.

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Believe me, these are just 5 gems out of so many which I could have written down but didn’t have time to. I love the way he thinks and the way he forces us to contemplate on issues. Amazing! I’m going to buy one of his books “In the Footsteps of the Prophet (PBUH)” where he captures the life of Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam and then applying to the modern day. *Can’t wait!*